Cape Town, January 11
Former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener said Hardik Pandya had the makings of a fantastic all-round asset for India.
Pandya scored 93 off 95 balls in India’s first innings and took 2/27 in the Proteas’ second innings to keep India in contention in the first Test.
“I thought his knock in India’s first innings was fantastic. His batting was excellent in the way he put the pressure back on South Africa,” Klusener said. “He is going to be fantastic for India. He is still developing and I think if he could add another yard of pace to his bowling, he would become a truly amazing all-rounder.”
In a short span of time in international cricket, Pandya has established himself as a regular in the team. His record in limited-overs cricket has been excellent with both the bat and the ball. In Tests, he has a century and two fifties.
“All the signs are there that he is developing into a fantastic all-round prospect. Sure, he is bound to fail a few times the way he plays, but it is better to encourage that positive approach than reel him in,” he said. “So, he is in good company, whether he plays for Mumbai Indians in IPL or in this Indian team, he is surrounded by a lot of good people. It is their responsibility to nurture him,” he added.
Pandya’s heroics, though, couldn’t save India from a disappointing loss at Newlands. India had opted out of the solitary practice game before the Test series. Klusener didn’t agree with this approach.
“Look, it is always good to have a practice game under your belt. If India were touring in the sub-continent, then it wouldn’t be the end-of-the-world if they didn’t play a practice game before the tour. But for them to come to South Africa, it would have been nice for them to have the practice game in foreign conditions,” he said. “If the shoe was on the other foot, and South Africa were touring India, they would have played at least one practice game.”
Klusener said there were lessons to be learnt from the defeat. “It could have been a lot worse to be honest if Pandya hadn’t played that excellent knock. I think that is a learning point for India in how they can turn this around. They need to be proactive and take the pacers’ challenge head on,” he added.